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Heady Topper

Image

From the can!

8%

Heady Topper is one of those white whale beers. Almost impossible to get, especially if you can’t make it up to the cannery in Vermont. Special thanks to Gregg for picking up some up in Vermont.

Known as one of the best beers in the country, The Alchemist keeps it their way with a tall boy can with “DRINK FROM THE CAN!” wrapping the rim. Not long after you crack the can you start to get an amazing smell, incredibly hoppy, almost bordering on grapefruit. 

The first taste coats your mouth with intense hops, but then fades nicely. What puts this beer head and shoulders ahead most other beers is what happens next. The hops fade nicely with very little residual bitterness. It leaves the nice hop flavor with just enough malt to balance it out, while leaving it very refreshing tasting. Hands down one of the most drinkable 8% beers you can find. 

Heady Topper has a truly amazing characteristic, every time you take a sip, it is like the first time you tried it. When I drink it, it always goes one sip, coat the mouth, wait, take another. Each time it is an explosion of nice fresh hops. This is one of the hardest beers I have had to write a beer about, because it does not compare to almost any beer out there. It stands atop my personal podium with only Lawson’s Finest Liquids Double Sunshine. Truly great beer coming off of the Vermont Ale Trail. 

If you are ever in Vermont, find this beer. If you have friends who have the means of getting this beer, find a way to try some. Short of both of those, rumor has it Boston restaurant Eastern Standard sends someone up to VT on a regular basis to keep it in stock, though the price tag is said to be around $10. 

Grade: A+

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Current Top 3

What am I drinking right now?

Here is my current top 3, this changes not only every week, but every 5 minutes.

The list is currently as follows:

Maine Beer Co. Peeper Ale

Jack’s Abby Hoponius Union

Firestone Walker Double Jack 

Honorable mention:

Abita Strawberry (yeah I know, strawberry beer, just try it, you will like it)

Pretty Things Fluff White Rabbit

Uinta Hop Notch

(not really a beer) Green River Ambrosia Ginger Libation

 

Reviews of some of these to come, keep an eye out.

Beer Inspiration

You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.
-Frank  Zappa

“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”

-Dave Barry

 

Southern Tier Hop Sun Summer Wheat Beer

5.1%

Bottled

Pours a pure gold, clear. Nose is pretty relaxed, nice and hoppy but still pretty light, the hops come through with a solid note of citrus. The first taste is surprisingly light after smelling the hops. The hops follow-up nicely on the end, but it avoids being sticky like some hoppy beers.

Impression: This is nearly a perfect summer beer. Summer tends to be my least favorite season for beers, often they forgo flavor to keep a beer light. Southern Tier does a great job of making sure that did not happen in Hop Sun. It is a great beer to leave in a cooler during a barbecue because it will hold up to the heat. It will not leave you feeling too hot and weighed down. The bitterness from the hops lingers for just long enough, without sticking around to make you feel too dehydrated.

There is a nice lemon zest type flavor right at the peak of this beer. It flows down from there into the slightly bitter aftertaste. One thing I would like to see from this beer is slightly more carbonation. Fizzy yellow beer is no good, but a bit more carbonation can be great for a light summer beer sometimes. A bit more carbonation would also help the smell come across a bit more and lighten up the flavor.

Overall I first tried this beer while I was grilling, not planning on reviewing it, but after trying it, it actually sent me back to the store to get a full 6-pack.

Grade: A

Long Trail Brewmaster Series Double IPA

8.6%

Bottled

Pours a nice caramel gold, clear. If you are familiar with the Long Trail IPA the smell will be very familiar. There is a nice citrusy hop profile, with some sweet malt ont he back-end. The taste is also very reminiscent of an amped up Long Trail IPA. Nice strong hops and coats the mouth nicely on the finish.

Impression: I have always liked the single IPA from Long Trail, but sometimes it just does not do everything you want. The IPA is a nice and light, and this borrows well from that. The initial hops notes are still nice and floral, but you get a little alcohol kick. The taste lingers very well on the back-end, staying around just long enough that you can put the beer down and be satisfied.

The hops are nice and resin-ey on the back-end as well.  This is a double IPA that you could drink for quite some time. Often with double IPAs they can overpower you if you want to have more than one in a night. This one may sneak up on you eventually, but it will not overwhelm you palate. The other nice thing about this beer is that it will not break the bank, coming in on the lower end of  good double IPAs.

Grade: A-

Southern Tier Eurotrash Pilz

5.2%

Bottled

Pours a pale yellow, if you told me it was a Pabst or Coors it would not be hard to believe. Has a bit of a grassy smell, but really just smells like any other pilsner. The taste leaves quite a bit to be desired. There is very little depth to the flavor. Best described by one of the other people I am tasting with as any crappy beer, with a bit of flowers thrown in.

Impression: I really wanted to like this beer, Southern Tier is usually one of my go to beer brands. Unfortunately, this is no better than a normal pilsner. In terms of value, this is one of the worst beers I have had in a long time. I keep trying to like this beer, I really do, it just doesn’t seem to offer anything more than a simple Pabst. They say life’s to short to drink shitty beer, life’s too short to drink Eurotrash.

Grade: F

Abita Tubrodog

5.6%

Bottled

Pours dark, almost opaque, a very very dark amber when held up to the light. Smells malty with a bit of a coffee note, maybe a tiny bit of cinnamon. Starts out a bit sweeter than expected, but still nice and light. Finishes with a bit of toffee, and a good strong coffee flavor.

Impression: A one-off beer that Abita decided to turn into a year round beer after people went crazy for it. Turbodog is a nice flavorful dark beer, that is still very light. It is a good brown ale, nothing that will blow you completely out of the water, but a very good beer to pick up if it is around. This is a perfect example of a middle of the road beer. It will hold its own in most discussions, though it may not win out over more interesting beers. It is a good session beer, you could easily put back a few of these in a night, and not feel as stuffed as you may with other brown ales.

Grade: B